Local snowboarders ride well in national events


— Jon Casson had plenty of reasons to smile last weekend, thanks to strong showings by snowboarders competing in locations ranging from Mount Snow in Vermont to Copper Mountain in Colorado.

"It was a terrific weekend for all of our riders," Casson, snowboard program director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, said earlier this week. "I couldn't have been happier."

Topping the list was local rider Matt Ladley's return to the elite level at the Winter Dew Tour. Ladley, who recently returned to competition after a shoulder injury, thrilled snowboarding fans under the lights with a seventh-place showing in the superpipe event won by Olympic gold medalist Shaun White.

"I just wanted to make it to the finals," Ladley said. "I ended up doing it, so I was pretty stoked with the results."

Ladley followed it up by coming back to Copper Mountain on Wednesday and winning a Revolution Tour event. The event slightly was less competitive, but Ladley was thrilled with the return after shattering his collarbone in training less than four weeks ago.

Casson also was pleased with top finishes from several other riders competing in a regional USASA event at Copper Mountain.

Steamboat rider Nik Baden, who hopes to follow in Ladley's footsteps, won the slopestyle and halfpipe events in the boys 10 and 11 age division. Teammate Spencer Vaughan was second in the slopestyle.

Steamboat also was strong in the youth women's division, for riders ages 12 to 15. Skyler Weir took top honors in the division and was followed by teammates Natalie Geer in second and Summer Smalley in third.

Carter Smalley won the halfpipe and was second in the slopestyle in the breaker boys, for ages 12 and 13. Taylor Gold was third in the open men's and Mike Lekarczyk was third in the youth men, for ages 14 and 15. Jonathon Ricker was third, Coleman Holloway was sixth and Drew Dummit was seventh in the junior men slopestyle, for ages 16 and 17.

Steamboat also was represented in the freeskier group. Ben Von Thaden won the halfpipe, and Jonas Seiler won the slopestyle and was second in the halfpipe.


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